Modern day Star Wars, as a franchise, has never shied away from casting very strong female leads in their major productions. We just got off a three-movie run with a kickass woman leading the last Jedi charge against the Emperor. So it’s no surprise that the rumors around the newest Star Wars show on Disney+ will also include a female focus.
Back in the spring, it was announced that Leslye Headland would helm a new show on Disney+ after creating and showrunning the award-winning mystery Russian Doll on Netflix. This sparked speculation that the new Star Wars show would include a female lead considering all of Headland’s other works have gone that direction.
The idea that Headland’s Star Wars project will have a female focus is now confirmed. Additional rumors indicate that not only will the show feature a female with the top billing, it will be martial arts-heavy with a thriller/suspense bent. Set in an alternate timeline from other works in the Star Wars canon, the unnamed show will reportedly have a different vibe than other shows/ movies we’ve seen in the universe. It’s unclear whether this alternate timeline is simply meant to represent a space and time outside of the stories we are already familiar with, or if it’s meant to diverge completely into an alternate reality playing with the same Star Wars rules. That much remains to be seen.
Casting Daisy Ridley as Rey in 2015’s The Force Awakens represented a pivot for the Star Wars franchise in that they were finally putting the lead lightsaber in the hands of a very capable female. A relatively unknown actress was thrust into the spotlight with the role. Though some weren’t pleased about it, she handled the character admirably and effectively, even if the results from The Rise of Skywalker left a bitter taste in fans’ mouths. Whatever the issues with the storyline and arc may have been, they didn’t rest at the feet of the performance Ridley put into the character.
And of course, Star Wars also went the female route in 2016’s Rogue One with Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, leading the fight to release the schematics of the Death Star. This movie diverged from some of the space cowboy stuff we’d seen in other parts of the franchise. It was a welcome sight and solidified that females could have dark and badass roles in the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars continues to expand its popularity and reach with The Mandalorian finding incredible success on the Disney+ platform. The show has been a massive hit with critics and fans alike and is currently in its second season. And there are plenty of other programs coming down the pike as well including a Rogue One prequel, an Obi-Wan series with Ewan McGregor, and even a series about the High Republic which takes place 200 years prior to the events in Phantom Menace.
It’s an exciting time for the Star Wars universe with the franchise catering to almost all age and gender demographics in their stories, timelines, and tones. This latest news of a female-led martial arts thriller only adds on to that buzz and likely brings on a whole new group of viewers to the timeless classics.